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THX 1138 (1971)

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Set in the 25th century, the story centers around a man and a woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maggie McOmie ...
John Pearce ...
Irene Cagen ...
IMM (as Irene Forrest)
Gary Alan Marsh ...
John Seaton ...
Eugene I. Stillman ...
Jack Walsh ...
TRG (as Raymond J. Walsh)
Mark Lawhead ...


It's sometime in the future in a state controlled society, where conformity and homogeneity are the rule. What is also the rule is that the populace follows the wants of the faceless state without question. How this is achieved is through a mandatory drug regimen, which also suppresses human desire, with sexual intercourse and human relationships banned. The law of the state is policed by a force of robocops. The physical environment is totally within a manufactured enclosure, what being outside of this unknown. THX 1138 is a loyal subject, he who goes about his business as a skilled factory working building robocops. And even when he begins to have strange feelings, he does what is obliged by going to the state run confessional, which further brainwashes through its reinforced mantra of happiness, loyalty and understanding. THX 1138 is given a glimpse into the other side through his computer matched and thus appointed female roommate, LUH 3417, and her surveillance colleague SEN 5241... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Visit the future where love is the ultimate crime. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

11 March 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

THX-1138  »

Box Office


$777,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (1971 Studio Theatrical Cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The underground chase near the end was shot in a not-yet-completed segment of the BART subway system in San Francisco. See more »


At the end of the car chase, the view from within the car shows it sliding into the scaffolding and the right side of the car hitting first. But the next shot from outside the car shows the car sliding into the scaffolding with the left side of it hitting the scaffolding first. See more »


[first lines]
Male voice (medicine cabinet): What's wrong?
THX 1138: Nothing. Nothing really. I just feel that I need something stronger.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): If you have a problem, don't hesitate to ask for assistance.
THX 1138: Yes, thank you, I'll be alright.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): Call 3485...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits roll down instead of up. See more »


References Fantastic Voyage (1966) See more »


St. Matthew Passion
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Was loving it... was loving it... hated it.
6 August 2007 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

===EDIT: The following review was written before I knew the extent of the cgi doctoring that Lucas added recently. These are the "cheap action scenes" I'm talking about below. If you can find a copy of the original undoctored THX-1138, that's the one to watch.===

Aw man. This film had so much promise. It starts out abstract, minimalist, challenging and poetic. It gets deeper, more bizarre and artistic. But then it suddenly degenerates into a cheap action flick with hi-tech car chases, and it ends with the most simplistic, meaningless resolution. Total letdown.

It's as if Hamlet's famous soliloquy went:

"To be, or not to be: that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows... and CARS! and MOTORCYCLES! and fast whizzy things BAM!! The End!!!!"

I suspect that Lucas began this film with a fantastic premise & with artistic intent, but then he suddenly realized "hey wait, I don't know what I'm doing. How do I end this damn thing?" True, it's an interesting dystopian drama. George must've been reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut when he filmed this. Yes, it's very much in the style of 2001: A Space Odyssey. George must've been watching a lot of Kubrick. But that's where it ends. George fails to present anything original. And as it unravels into a simplistic action flick in the last 20 minutes, you realize that George has been fooling you for the last hour and a half. Literally, it ended, and I said out loud, "Uh... is this where Lucas got bored and stopped filming?"

Still, I have to give him an "A" for effort. Like most of the other reviewers, I was blown away by the fact that George Lucas was capable of this type of abstract poetry. With the exception of those cheezy action scenes (which I'm sure Lucas added ex post facto, like he did with Star Wars + CGI) it is reminiscent of the old Michael Crichton films (Andromeda Strain, Westworld) with maybe a dash of Rollerball.

The early 70s was a wonderful time for scifi, because all the directors were scrambling to emulate Kubrick's masterpiece. But like this film, the effort ran out of gas and eventually slumped into plot-driven cheese. What is so frustrating is that Lucas could have made something truly great if he had just followed up on Donald Pleasence's cryptic ramblings midway. Unfortunately, he chose to go in the other direction, and the film ends with no dialogue for the last 20 minutes. Instead we get a lot of (ex post facto CGI) special effects and chase scenes. What a shame. We literally see before our eyes the unfortunate turning point of Lucas' career.

In space, sometimes a nebula--for all its swirling promise--never quite consolidates itself into a star. This movie, like Lucas, like the failed nebula, is the big one that got away.

P.S. George, if you're listening, please stop adding "new" special effects to the old films! You're not impressing anyone. You & Ted Turner both...

20 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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That damn CGI! thgl619
Boring is the word Blonde2291
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